NYPD Investigating East Village Assault as a Hate Crime Echoing O’Shae Sibley’s Death
By Arthur Schwartz
Police are looking for two suspects who used anti-gay slurs and assaulted two 23-year-old men near Union Square Park in June.
According to information just released on August 10 by the NYPD, the two victims were sitting on a bench at East 13th Street and Broadway around 8 p.m. on June 28 when two unidentified individuals approached them and began a verbal dispute. Police officials report that the suspects used an anti-gay slur and then followed one of the victims as he tried to move away. A physical altercation ensued, and cops reported that the victims were punched in the head and shoved in the chest. They were not badly injured and refused medical attention at the scene. The suspects fled north on Broadway, towards East 14th Street. They appear to be light-skinned and in their teens, according to surveillance images provided by the NYPD.
The NYPD’s Hate Crimes Task Force is investigating, and police are asking for the public’s help to find the perpetrators.
Information about this incident comes as the city is reeling from another anti-LGBTQ hate crime: the July 29th murder of O’Shae Sibley, a 28-year-old man who was dancing at a Brooklyn gas station with friends when another group made anti-LGBTQ remarks and demanded the men stop dancing. Sibley was fatally stabbed in the altercation that followed and Dmitriy Popov, a 17-year-old Brooklyn resident, was arrested and charged with O’Shae’s murder.
A candlelight memorial took place on Saturday, August 5th at The LGBT Community Center on West 13th Street, the rehearsal location of Sibley’s ball room house (House of Old Navy). The memorial included a march to the Christopher Street Pier.
“Black, queer people deserve to live freely and have the right to experience joy in all spaces,” The Center said in a statement. Sibley’s murder is one in a dangerous pattern of targeted, hate-fueled acts of violence against LGBTQ people happening across the country, which Black LGBTQ people disproportionately experience.”
Elected officials shared in their constituents’ grief and called for swift justice.
“This type of violent action is the product of violent rhetoric. It is the result of reactionary bigots scapegoating LGBTQIA+ people; it is a call back to the myriad legislative attacks on our bodies and our treasured spaces,” City Council’s LGBTQIA+ Caucus said in a statement.